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Shortage in refrigerated trucks harming exports as Gulf demand for produce rises

By Hana Namrouqa - Jun 17,2015 - Last updated at Jun 17,2015

AMMAN — The Merchants Union of Vegetables and Fruits Exporters on Wednesday warned that the shortage in refrigerated trucks will cause a drop in the country’s agricultural exports and result in losses for farmers and producers.

Union President Saadi Abu Hammad said demand for local produce is increasing in the Gulf market, which calls for raising the number of trucks.

“Due to the unrest in Syria, Gulf countries are now importing 70-80 per cent of their needs of fruit and vegetables from Jordan, which this year is witnessing abundance in production that covers both the needs of the local market and exports,” Abu Hammad told The Jordan Times.

A total of 238 refrigerated trucks carried local produce to Gulf countries on Tuesday, according to the merchant.

He noted that the country’s fleet of 2,900 refrigerated trucks transport fruit, vegetables, meat, frozen poultry and pharmaceuticals to the Gulf states.

“The current supply of produce, especially fruit from the eastern region, requires increasing the number of refrigerated trucks,” Abu Hammad underscored.

In a week from now, agricultural production is expected to reach its peak, he said, noting that the current fleet of refrigerated trucks designated for transporting produce to Gulf states can only cover 10 days.

The union president complained that the rates of renting refrigerated trucks have more than doubled — from JD1,500 to JD3,200 to Dubai, and from JD1,173 to JD2,582 to Kuwait.

“We are calling for allowing the entry of foreign refrigerated trucks to transport fruits and vegetables to Gulf countries... especially since we now need an additional fleet of 250-300 refrigerated trucks,” Abu Hammad said.

Farmers and exporters will incur financial losses and lose their competitive edge if the shortage in refrigerated trucks persists, coupled with their high rental fees, he added.

The Ministry of Agriculture is scheduled to hold a meeting to address the issue under the auspices of the Transport Ministry, according to Agriculture Ministry Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin. 

 

Noting that Agriculture Minister Akef Zu’bi met with the union president and members on Tuesday, Haddadin said the meeting with all concerned parties will focus on providing enough refrigerated trucks to transport produce exports.

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